The year 2014 was officially named the warmest year in recorded history with global temperatures 0.68C (1.24F) above the long-term average, according to NASA and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). That announcement was one that didn’t surprise many who had been advocating for changes in the way we deal with climate change, but for some who experienced a cooler than average summer that change in temperature might have been less noticeable. The warning signs though, according to scientists, were extreme this year – with the warming trend, compared to years previously.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric scientists noted that warmer than average surface temperature in the oceans made for stronger storms. Particularly, these storms were felt most-violently in the Pacific Ocean where those storms caused significant damage on the West Coast of the United States. Previously, 2010 was the hottest year on record, but that was beat out by 2014 which was deceptively warm, since many people on the East Coast, for example, felt a cooler than usual year. However, all of that doesn’t put the global warmup in perspective. The 10 hottest years on record all occurred after 1997, meaning that the densest warmup period that has ever occurred on Earth – has happened in less than the last two decades.
Whether it was stronger storms, wildfires in the western United States or fluctuating temperatures throughout Europe and Asia – it was clear to scientists that the cause was most-obviously due to the human impact on global warming. Some scientists within NOAA even went as far as to say that the weather patterns throughout large portions of the year that seemed “stuck in place” were likely due to global warming. However, that is an assertion that has not been verified.
The places where the most-extreme warming is happening though is in the extreme northern and southern portions of the planet. Where the poles are, and where the largest portions of polar ice exist – which is crucial to global temperature, as well as a global climate. The continued impact of the greenhouse gases that we’re releasing into the atmosphere are having long-term impacts that are now becoming difficult to stop. Every 4-5 years we’re having another record-breaking year which is something that will eventually become too much for the planet to handle.